Air-conditioned apartments for holiday lets in the Palais Mediterrannee Residences, Nice, France.

Places to Visit

Vieux Nice

Start your day early in Vieux Nice (Old Nice), with a café crème in the Cours Saleya and observe the vibrant Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market). In addition to a colourful assortment of regional flora, this market specializes in locally grown fruits and vegetables and regional products such as honey, lavender, preserves and, of course, olive oil. Don't miss the vast assortment of exquisitely confected marzipan figures and rich candied fruit which make for excellent, inexpensive souvenirs. If you prefer a more structured overview of Old Nice, make your way to the Palais Lascari, a magnificent Baroque palace which is now a museum and the meeting point for several guided tours throughout Nice. For specific information, contact the palace directly. Before leaving the Cours Saleya, pay a visit to Thérèse, the legendary socca merchant of Old Nice. Sample a piece of this giant crèpe made from chickpea flour and olive oil, or opt for a slice of pissaladière, a savoury onion tart garnished with delectable Niçois olives and drizzled with olive oil. After indulging in some of Nice's most cherished delicacies, climb the sweeping stone stairs to the Château de Nice where you will be rewarded with another delicious treat, a breathtaking view of the Baie des Anges. For those that prefer to save their breath during their visit of this ancient site, there is an elevator at the foot of the cliff. The Château de Nice, dismantled by Louis XIV in 1706, is now a shady, peaceful park which affords several ideal vantage points on the sprawling coastline. If you have the time and aren't quite ready to descend back into the busy city below, consider meandering in the adjacent Cimitière du Château, a Jewish cemetery that is one of the most beautiful resting grounds in the world. For lunch, you can either stroll along the port and choose among several fine seafood restaurants or venture back into the narrow streets of Old Nice for more indigenous cooking. If you can't get enough of the Cours Saleya, Safari boasts a long list of local dishes such as daube (meat-filled ravioli), beignets of zucchini flowers and farcis (stuffed vegetables). For a lighter version of regional dishes in a refined setting, reserve at the Petite Maison on rue St. François de Paule, steps from City Hall, the newly renovated Opera House and Alziari, the indispensable address for fragrant olive oil, jars of tapenade or olive spread and big green bars of olive oil soap. Cross the street and sample the addictive chocolate-covered almonds at Auer, an old fashioned confectionary dating back to 1820. Or perhaps you prefer a sumptuous gelato to accompany you on your mid-afternoon journey through the winding web of streets in Old Nice.

Baroque Treasures

Begin at the Prefecture and take rue Ste. Reparate to the Place Rosetti where Finocchio, an enticing gelateria, offers the sinful Italian ice cream. If you're feeling guilty after your sweet indulgence, confess next door at the Cathedral of Ste. Reparate. Named after the patron saint of Nice, this impressive church is an excellent example of the Baroque architecture that flourished in Nice during the 17th century. Explore further into the picturesque vieux ville or turn around and take rue Reparate back to rue Droite, where another Baroque treasure is nestled peacefully in the quiet place du Gesu. The petit Eglise du Gesu, one of the oldest parishes in Nice, was built in 1642 by a Niçois architect but inspired by a Roman church. The restricted interior is resplendent with cherubs, flower garlands and gilded stuccos. If you'd like to contemplate the handsome exterior while enjoying a rustic pizza or plate of fresh pasta, reserve for dinner at the charming Restaurant du Gesu, a simple-yet-authentic Niçois restaurant discreetly tucked away from the summertime tourists. If you prefer to venture out of Old Nice for dinner and if lunch plans didn't include a visit to the port, don't exclude this destination which makes for a particularly pleasant evening programme. After admiring the stunning array of yachts in the marina, relax at the upscale L'Ane Rouge, a sophisticated seafood restaurant serving classical regional dishes. There is nothing more pleasurable than spending the morning or afternoon at one of the city's many private beaches, where you can conveniently rent a comfortable, cushioned chaise lounge, fresh towels and a large umbrella. Lunch on salad Niçoise and a bottle of Rosé without ever leaving your spot in the sun thanks to the small army of friendly, tanned servers. In order to ensure that your refreshing swim in the sparkling Mediterranean brings you bliss and not blisters, be sure to protect your feet from the hot, irregularly shaped stones that cover the shores of the Baie des Anges. You can purchase inexpensive rubber or jelly sandals in most souvenir shops. Another advantage of choosing a private beach over a public one is the availability of clean, spacious changing and showering facilities.

La Belle Epoque

While Old Nice charms with its Italian architecture and atmosphere, "new" Nice is no less endearing thanks to the profusion of Belle Epoque façades which embellish the commercial and residential neighbourhoods of the city from the Promenade des Anglais to the tranquil hill of Cimiez. For a more thorough visit of Nice's architectural treasures, contact the City Hall of Nice, where you can choose from several 90-minute guided tours of the city. Spend an afternoon discovering Le Carré d'Or, the elegant section of the pedestrian zone of central Nice, which begins at the Promenade des Anglais and extends to the tree-lined Boulevard Victor Hugo. Look for street names like Paradis, Alfonse Karr or Longchamp in order to identify this chic quarter of Nice. A structured promenade should begin at the majestic Place Massena, the veritable centre of Nice easily recognisable by its series of fountains and large, red, arcaded buildings. Walk along the spacious and verdant Jardin Albert 1er, one of the oldest gardens in Nice which links the old and new cities while occupying a coveted central location with an unobstructed, sublime view of the sea. The garden is also parallel to the pedestrian zone where you can browse in small boutiques, enjoy an aperitif or dine in one of many outdoor restaurants. The Taverne Massena, for example, serves a particularly good pizza in a casual, convivial setting. For a more urban experience, walk down the crowded and commercial Avenue Jean Mèdecin. Beside major department stores like Galeries Lafayette, Virgin Megastore and a multi-level shopping mall, you will find the unusual, concrete Eglise de Notre Dame, built in 1926. A more aesthetic appreciation of religious architecture can be found by visiting the out-of-the-way Eglise Russe (Russian church). This ornate landmark, inspired by St. Basil's cathedral in Red Square, was built between 1902 and 1913 and financed by Czar Nicolas II. The Eglise Russe is a prominent reminder of the importance of Russian royalty in Nice during the second half of the 19th century. The royal family's winter holidays spent on the Côte d'Azur motivated the City of Nice to improve infrastructure for the comfort of such prestigious "tourists". After spending a day in the vibrant city centre, have dinner in a serene, secluded location. For unbeatable bouillabaisse in an attractive, wood-panelled dining room designed to look like a boat, reserve at Coco Beach. Call in the morning to place your order so the chef can purchase your fish at the market. A spectacular setting perched above the sea makes Coco Beach worth the short trip. For a more rustic, authentically Niçois experience, don't miss dinner at Chez Hélène Barale, where a colourful parade of local dishes can be had, including wine, for a reasonable fixed price. It's a slightly out-of-the-way location but worth the effort.

Les Artistes

Although a car greatly facilitates visiting the calm, residential hill of Cimiez, the outing can be done by foot if you have the time and the energy. Starting at the top and working your way down is probably the most efficient and enjoyable plan of action. Bus numbers 15 or 17 will take you effortlessly from the centre of Nice toward the summit of Cimiez to the "Matisse" stop. If you choose to walk, take Boulevard de Cimiez all the way to the Musée Matisse, housed in the splendid vermilion Villa des Arènes named in honour of the impressive Roman ruins that neighbour the property. Acquired in 1950 by the City of Nice, the Villa des Arènes, originally a private villa in the Genoese architectural style, was transformed into the Musée Matisse and the Archeological Museum. Once the latter was moved in 1986 to the actual Roman site, the Musée Matisse was entirely dedicated to the life and work of the illustrious artist who settled in Nice from 1917 until his death in 1954. Also in Cimiez is the Musée Chagall, formally the Musée Nationale Message Biblique Marc Chagall, which was inaugurated in 1973 and includes the artist's creations inspired by the Bible. Bus number 15 will take you between the two museums. When you leave the Musée Matisse, look for the exit that leads you to the Avenue and then Place du Monastère. The Monastery of Cimiez is an exceptional site where a church, cloister and garden are impeccably maintained by the Franciscan monks who have lived here since 1546. The elegant, Niçois exterior gives way to a spacious, gothic interior adorned with Renaissance paintings by Louis Brea and an ornate Baroque altar-piece in gilded wood. The magnificent garden, bursting with fragrant roses in May and June, is perfectly manicured and affords a mesmerizing view over Nice, the mountains of the back country and the dazzling Mediterranean Sea. You may have thought to stop at the kiosk Chez Tintin, a tiny, take-away stand at 33, Avenue Malausséna, for a picnic lunch of pan-bagnat, a succulent salad Niçoise sandwich, and a rich slice of tourte aux blettes (sweet Swiss chard tart). If not, then you may want to try the convivial Auberge de Theo, a family-owned restaurant serving copious portions of Niçois and Italian cooking. After lunch take bus number 15 down the hill and back into town where you can choose from a late afternoon nap on the beach or a jaunt to either the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain or the Musée des Beaux-Arts. If you have a car, this would also be the perfect time to explore the magnificent coast from Nice to Monaco, or in the other direction towards Antibes and Cannes. If you prefer a trip inland, opt for a drive to the stunning, artistic village of St. Paul de Vence, where dinner at the legendary Colombe d'Or will add a touch of magic to your holiday in Nice.

Le Parc Du Chateau

‘Le Chateau’ is where an old castle, destroyed in 1706, used to sit on top of a high rock overlooking Nice old town and the port. Today it is now laid out as gardens with many walks and large areas for relaxing and picnicking. At the very top, a viewing area has fantastic views of Nice and the coastline, and there's a terrace café and souvenir stand. The waterfall, just below the top, is visible from the town below, and a walkway at the base of the falls provides a refreshing mist-shower in the summertime. There are two ways to get up there. The steps, as you can see, or (thanks to the Nice authorities) a lift built into the rock - a welcome relief on hot days!

Le Jardin Du Monastere De Cimiez

Ancient pergolas connected to the main buildings are covered by climbing rose bushes, well kept grass paths are decorated with seville oranges, tangerines trees, etc. and the almost sacred wooded areas invite meditation.

Le Jardin Des Arenes De Cimiez

Located on the Cimiez cliffs overlooking Nice and next to the Monastery Gardens. An ideal spot to spend an agreable day in the open air, picnic under the shade of olive trees, play games, roll around on the lawn, visit the "Cemenelum" roman ruins and the nearby museums (Archaeological and Matisse).

Parc Floral Phoenix

At Arenas, close to the airport. Use the airport bus, or No 23 is cheaper. The largest plant house in the world, the Astronomic Garden, the Island of the Remotes Times, The Maya Temple, fishes, birds, exotic butterflies and thousand of flowers as well as exhibits, events and entertainment. Large park and gardens, with a large domed house with 2500 different plants and 7 tropical climates, as well as the museum of Asiatic art,in an original and beautiful building. Tea ceremonies on Thursdays and Sundays.

The Chateau

The hill behind the Cours Saleya no longer has a chateau, but is an excellent place for views of the port looking east, and the length of the Promenade des Anglais. Take the lift from the entrance just beyond the Cours Saleya – it’s easier to walk down! NOTE: The park at the top closes at 7pm- and the gates are then locked!

The Port

Nice is very proud of the newly opened extension to the Promenade, which now runs on around Rauba Capeu ( Hat in the air, in Nicoise- its breezier… ) past a newly built seating area with views, and down to the port area where the Corsica Ferries leave. 

Old Town

A fairly seedy area until recently, this area of narrow streets now has many galleries (Rue Droite) and some interesting shops along the street parallel to Ave Jean Jaures. Some excellent bars and clubs. Go to the top end at Place Garibaldi, and visit the Grand Café de Turin for very good and reasonable seafood, if you like shellfish!

Train trips. Cannes, Villefranche, Monaco and Menton are all easily accessible by train. Trains are modern, frequent and cheap,(a surprise for the English..) though it pays to go early as there is a lull in services mid-morning. Buy your tickets by credit card in the machines with the clever wheel device, and don’t forget to composter (stamp) your  ticket at the machine as you enter the platform. A return is "Aller retour`'. The station is about 15 minutes walk, or take a taxi from the rank outside the Meridien Hotel.

Cap Ferrat

A good day-long walk.  Take the train to Beaulieu, and walk down to the sea at Villa Kerylos. There is a good coastal path along to St Jean Cap Ferrat, around the peninsula (optional) and then right round the end of Cap Ferrat. The path varies, is occasionally rough and not well maintained everywhere, but a path exists all the way round. Note there is nowhere to purchase food or drink after St Jean. Views are excellent, and the path runs around the edge of some of the world’s most expensive property- which explains the variable nature of the path- not all the owners approve of the right of way. It is easier to cross back to St Jean, rather than continue to Villefranche, and return via Beaulieu.

Train des Pignes

This narrow gauge railway runs from the Gare du Sud, a little further inland than the main Nice station. Trains run to the Provencal towns high up the Var valley, and it is possible to go as far as Digne, a useful cooler destination if the heat becomes to great on the coast. After the valley of the river Var, the line goes via Villars and Puget Theniers, well up into Haute Provence and totally different to the coastal development.

 

Cathedrale Russe

Just west of the SNCF station- Boulevard Tzarevitch, off Gambetta. Wonderful cathedral constructed for Czar Nicholas, who died in Nice in 1865.Five onion domes with a coating of glazed Nicois tiles. The interior is full of frescoes and ikons- closed , in theory,on Sunday, but go anyway for the great Russian singing! It’s like Dr Zhivago…

 

The Ephrussi Museum and Gardens

Located at Cap Ferrat, the garden is stunning at any time of the year. Train to Beaulieu, then taxi or a 15 minute walk up to the pink Chateau, which dominates the Cap Ferrat peninsula. Many different gardens, including classical, Chinese, small patios, and all with views over Cap ferrat, to Villefranche and back to Beaulieu. For a really great day out, walk down to St Jean cap Ferrat port, have lunch at Le Sloop, then walk along the coastal footpath,(past David Niven’s old house) to Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu, which is an amazing recreation of a Greek Villa and really worth a visit. Beaulieu station then about 10 minutes walk, to return to Nice.


Espace Massena

City life revolves around Massena Square, Nice's geographic centre. Originally created in 1832, it has been redesigned several times since then and in 1852 finally named in honour of one of the city's most famous citizens. This harmoniously landscaped area of fountains, statues, trees, flowers, etc. provides Nice with a hub where its citizens and visitors can admire the surrounding architecture, gardens, and countryside.